Sunday morning and their sad farewell to the snow covered Big Apple and headed back to DC. Their flight was late, making Eyal miss his connection at Dulles for his direct flight to Tel Aviv. To Annie's surprise he was not upset, maybe a little jovial about the delay and of course she was delighted, more time with Eyal. Waiting for the announcement of their Washington flight, her phone buzzed.
"It's a text message from Auggie." She informed Eyal who seem not to care one way or the other. "He wants us to join him and Eric for beer this afternoon."
"Us or just you?"
"Didn't say, here you can read the text."
"I'm not paranoid but they did know I was meeting with Arthur. Pump you for information." Eyal understood the mentality of the inner circle of Langley.
"Mainly Eric, he is the inquisitive one. Auggie will want to know but his ego will make him use his spy craft and detective skills to figure it out."
"How good is he?"
"About ninety percent, maybe a tad more. We can't blow your Lamorak cover so let's..."
"Way ahead of you Neshama. Delivery of sensitive intel only to be given to Arthur and not through normal channels."
"They will jump to the collusion there is a mole in the building." Annie half chuckling at the idea.
"There is always that possibly, we never know."
"You are a devious man Mr. Lavin."
"Not devious, just a leery spy." Eyal listening for the call of their flight, "That's us, finally and yes it's ok with me to meet them for beer. Give me a chance to get to know them better as I will be depending on both for intel in the future."
"How? They will recognize you voice, you can't just call for quick intel."
"Some old technology with some new upgrades, I'll sound like a woman with a German accent. Both will know it is scrambled and if they work real hard can unscramble, identify Lamorak as being me and in doing so, forfeit their jobs. I would rather not use that route and only text. But if something is urgent so be it."
"I hope Auggie and Eric are forewarned."
"I'm sure they will be. Arthur and I spoke in-depth of how I would receive intel. Now let's talk about the fun our being together has been or will be in the future."
Washington was cold, grey and overcast but no snow. Going first to Eyal's apartment for a little unpacking and repacking a small travel bag and larger suitcase with his mother's gift and a Xbox 360 Birds of Steel game for Avi, Ester's skin care gift box, and Maya's Leather Bound Journal with a personal message Eyal had written on the first page.
Eyal putting the video game in the suitcase, "His mother is going to protest but Avi wishes to be a fighter pilot when it's his time to serve IDF. I would rather him be in the air than on the ground."
"You can see your son?"
"Yeah, had to go to court but now I have full parental rights. No one on this earth is going to take my duty of being a father away."
"How is that working out for you?"
"Great. Father and son are hitting it off great. My parents are taking a special interest in him and Avi appears to like being part of the Lavin family. My ex is starting to soften a bit to the idea her son is a Lavin and she can't do anything about it."
Even if Annie want to continue the conversation she recognize that was all she was going to get and this weekend she had learned a great deal. "Avi is going to like the game."
"That's what he asked for so I'm sure he will." Eyal easing up behind Annie and with a light kiss on the back of her shoulder, "Want to wish me a proper adieu."
Annie turning to face him, her arms gliding around his neck, "What I had in mind."
After another blissful time in Eyal's king size bed, Annie with her head on his chest, "I wish we didn't have the jobs we have."
"What else would we do? As for me I can't think of anything I would want to do."
"A doctor. You were in medical school."
"Not sure now if that was what I wanted or if it was my mother's dream, to have her sons in a professional life. What about you, what would you be doing?"
"Teaching I guess. I felt good in the academic environment." Annie glancing at the clock, "We need to get dress and go."
It was a different bar than the usual Allen's that Eric and Auggie had picked, safely away from any chance of someone from Langley happening to stop by for a quick beer. They were there and had picked a table near the back, out-of-the-way, good spy choice. Eyal walking two steps behind Annie as they entered the bar. Eric spotted them and waved.
"Welcome to our little beer club." Eric extending his hand to Eyal. "I'm Eric Barber."
"Pleasure." Eyal shaking his hand.
"Good to hear you again. How have you been?" Auggie with his hand shake.
"Better than last time. So what would you suggest in the way of beer." Eyal hating cold American beer but wasn't going to pitch cold water on the party.
"The draft pitcher is fair or they do have some imported brew." Eric was being helpful.
"Your choice Annie, whatever you want." Eyal holding the chair for Annie and then slipping beside her.
"We can split a pitcher." Annie had no idea what type of beer Eyal would like, he was a wine drinker.
Ordering the beer and small talk when Eric couldn't wait any longer as Annie had predicted. "You working for the CIA now?"
"Nope, guess you asking about me being in the building on Wednesday."
"We had some bets going around." Auggie smiled.
"Just a delivery jock."
"Some highly classified intel not suited for normal channels." Auggie adding his take on what Eyal had said and Eyal said nothing.
"Silences must mean affirmative. Just in case there is a mole on staff." Eric was satisfied with the answer but was Auggie?
Auggie ordering another pitcher for him and Eric, "You two went to New York for the holidays. How was your trip?"
"Very nice thank you." Eyal with a formal answer but Annie started to giggle.
"So, Mr. Levin…" Annie was struggling to get the words out, and Eyal looked at her with amazement. Annie Walker was going to betray him, embarrass him and she was barely holding it together, taking too much enjoyment in what was going to unfold. "So, Mr. Levin, would you care to share your thoughts about your last evening's entertainment?"
Eric looked at Eyal with raised eye brows, "Yes Eyal let's hear about your evening."
Eyal, "Nope not much, all in the line of duty to assist some lovely ladies."
Annie, "Line of duty, bull. We were a night club with a bachelorette party in a private area next to where we were sitting."
Eric egging Eyal on, "I've heard about those parties, come on help me out here. Have heard some wild tales."
Auggie, "Come on Eyal, I have never been to one, need to fill us in."
Annie "It all started after Eyal had an Arabic chat with our cab driver and was told about this club so we decided to go clubbing. A trendy, upscale restaurant slash night club. It was a spacious establishment, and as the revelers gathered at the bar, Eyal had no problem securing a small table in the corner of the room for us with a perfect view of the party and still close to the dance floor."
Eyal started as he wanted to tell the story his way for fear what Annie had to say. "Annie and I were enjoying our drinks and a few turns out on the dance. One of the guests at the party came over to introduce herself to Annie while I was at the bar to refresh our drinks. The lady of honor, the to-be-bride name is Mary."
Annie had to jump at this point, "Mary's bachelorette party was going along just fine like most...
Eyal picked back up the story, "The bride and her friends were in high spirits. They were downing drinks and laughing, but so far the night was progressing along uneventful. They wave to us and sent over a round of drinks to be friendly. I had no idea what was in a Naughty Sister or a Sex on the Beach, but I made a mental note to never again take a good drink for granted."
Auggie broke in, "So the hen's party was hum-drum."
Eyal, "Pretty much so, Mary began opening her presents, but the evening became considerably more raucous. The girls giggled and downed shots as she held up each provocative undergarment." Eyal raised an eyebrow and continued. "Women's lingerie seemed to be…evolving."
Annie, "When his reverie was suddenly interrupted with a loud: We've got Your Stuff!"
Eyal started again, "Two buff young men in black outfits with top hats had rambled into the room. The women squealed, and scrambled for their wallets in search of dollar bills." Eyal sighed with his silly grin. "I had never encountered this scenario during my time with Mossad."
"That's a bunch of Bull." Auggie taking a gulp of his beer.
"I take it the CIA provides that type of training, covert operations at bachelorette parties?" Eyal waited for an answer, "No... Didn't much think so. Mary was in the thick of things, helping to remove top hats and bow ties. And then the shirts came off, I knew that his evening could not possibly get any worse."
Annie, "But it did."
Eyal poured another glass of beer, "Well then a bleary-eyed blonde from the bar caught sight of me and cheerfully – and loudly – invited me to join in with the now gyrating Top Hatters. Even plopped a top hat on my head. As all eyes turned toward me and dollar bills were being pushed into different places nothing else I could do but join in. Soon my shirt was coming off."
Eric laughing with all his might, "So, did you do a little dancing for the girls?"
Eyal with a very straight face, "Yeah, a little bumping and grinding. I guess you can say my Latin dance moves paid off and I learn a few new moves."
"Don't let him play it so nonchalantly, Eyal was amazing in his dance moves and having a grand time. Fact they offered him a job as part of their stripping dance group."
Auggie was having hysterics by this time, "I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall."
Annie, "Or better yet, one of girls with a fist full of bills. Up close and personal."
"Don't let little miss prim and proper here fool you, Annie was right in the thick with a fist full of bills."
They were all roaring in laughter at Eyal's story. When Auggie was able to control it a bit, "So is that line of work lucrative?"
"I'll say, a little over five hundred for twenty minutes of muscle bending excise. Most of those bills turned out to be twenties and fifties." Once again laughter and another round of beer. Eyal being considered a welcome member of Annie's inner circle of friends. Eyal also delighted to see there was no lingering tension between Auggie and Annie.
Time passed quickly and the afternoon had turned into early evening. Annie standing and slipping on her coat, "We have to go. Eyal has a flight to catch."
"Been fun guys." Eyal also standing.
"Happy Hanukkah Eyal." Eric raising his glass in a toast.
"Happy whatever to you."
"Hanukkah works for me. Mazel tov" Eric replayed.
"Todah. See you guys later." Eyal over his shoulder and guiding Annie out the door.
Snow was starting to fall as they left the bar and headed to Dulles for the late flight to Tel Aviv. "That was fun."
"Yeah at my expense." Eyal chucking.
The drive to the airport was hushed, both not wanting the miles to go by, if they could only stop time. The snow was sticking by the time they reached Dulles and Eyal pulled into temporary parking. Turning to Annie, "We'll say our until we meet again here. The roads are getting real nasty."
"I can't handle it."
"Yes but you are in care of my new toy and I'll feel better if I knew you were on the way back to the apartment. Here is a spare key, your home away from bull shit, a hiding place Neshama."
"How long will you be gone this time?"
"I don't know. Here Annie, another charm for our first Thanksgiving and Hanukkah together. Our Thanksgivukkah." Eyal placing in her palm the tiny silver Menurkey (turkey-shaped menorah). "And this one for our stay in the Big Apple." A red apple Swarovski crystal pavé silver charm.
Closing her figures tightly around the charms, a tear crept into her eye. She hated these goodbyes. Reaching to hold Eyal tight, more tears came.
"Remember Neshama I'll always love you. You know I not good with goodbyes so I just leave with stay safe my love." He opened the car door, grabbed his suitcase and overnight bag, gave her a quick kiss and was gone.
"I love you too Eyal." As she watched him walk toward the massive terminal building and out of sight.
Eyal: Boarding the plane, snow covering the wings and a large deicing blower inching its way to the waiting plane, Eyal found his seat next to a window and stared out at the falling snow. He reached for his cell phone and noticed he had received a text message from his ex-wife. "Will you be a kind father and keep Avi with you for two days. I wish to visit my sister."
Quickly before having to turn off all phones, Eyal texted back, "Yes, pick him up on Monday afternoon." All was perfect for Eyal, he has the love of a woman who understands his line of work and what a wonderful woman she is and now spending time with his son. All topped off with being home with his family for the rest of Hanukkah.
Out of his mind was his next mission, he was going to Afghanistan but for now he was a happy man.
Author's Note: Still more to come of Eyal (Lamorak) and Annie. Next story, Fields of Poppies. Still working on some details and when I'm finished, posting will begin. Thanks for reading this short story and all the reviews, I so enjoyed writing this one.